The Slovenia Times

Albanian Prime Minister to Pay Official Visit on Monday


Talks with his host PM Janez Janša, President Danilo Türk and parliamentary Speaker Gregor Virant will focus on the situation in the Western Balkans, Albania's progress on its path towards the EU and the possibilities for enhancing economic situation, the Slovenian prime minister's office has said.

The visit, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishing of diplomatic relations between Slovenia and Albania, will be a chance for strengthening political contacts between the two countries, according to Janša's office.

Visits between top Slovenian and Albanian officials have been quite frequent recently. In May, the chairwoman of the Parliament of Albania Jozefina Topalli paid a visit, while in the autumn of 2010 the then Slovenian PM Borut Pahor was on an official visit to Tirana with a strong business delegation.

Nevertheless, trade between Slovenia and Albania remains modest, reaching EUR 15.3m after the first five months of the year, according to data by Slovenia's Agency for Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investments (JAPTI).

Last year, trade between the countries stood at some EUR 40m.

Slovenia exported EUR 15m worth of goods, mostly pharmaceutical products and food, to Albania between January and May this year, while it imported goods worth some EUR 200,000.

Albania was the last among European countries to start its transition from the communist past into an open-market economy. Mostly because of its history, it is still one of the poorest European countries, greatly dependent on foreign institutional aid.

Its economy expanded by 2% last year, while this year, the country's GDP should go up by 0.5%.

Albania joined NATO in April 2009 and filed for EU membership the same month, but has not been granted the status of a candidate yet. Nevertheless, a visa liberalisation was implemented for the country last year, meaning that Albanian citizens do not need a visa for spending up to 90 days in any of the EU countries.


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